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City of Chicago v. King

AUGUST 31, 1967.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. CORNELIUS J. HARRINGTON, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.


Rehearing denied and opinion modified September 28, 1967.

On September 6, 1966, defendant Frank Ditto was convicted of criminal contempt and sentenced to six months in the County Jail. He appeals, contending: (a) the temporary injunction order which he was alleged to have violated and upon which his contempt conviction was based, was unconstitutional and therefore void; (b) it was therefore error to refuse to allow collateral attack upon such order at his trial for contempt; (c) he was unconstitutionally denied a trial by jury; and (d) he was not shown to have violated the injunction.

On August 19, 1966, a verified complaint by the City of Chicago and its Superintendent of Police was filed in the Circuit Court seeking an injunction order restraining defendants, as individuals and collectively as various groups of citizens, from conducting, organizing, or participating in unreasonable demonstrations in support of a petition for the redress of alleged grievances; towit:

(A) From organizing, conducting or participating in any march, assembly, gathering or meeting on public property in more than one specific area of, or location in the City of Chicago on any given date.

(B) From conducting (etc.) . . . any such march (etc.) . . . unless such march (etc.) . . . is limited to such numbers as will not obstruct traffic, either vehicular or pedestrian, in an unreasonable manner, and, in any event, . . . be limited in size to 500 persons or less.

(C) From conducting (etc.) . . . any such march (etc.) . . . unless the Police Department of the City of Chicago has been given notice in writing of the location, number of people participating, and the names of the organizers of any such march . . ., its route, and time of inception, at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to its inception.

(D) From conducting (etc.) . . . any such march (etc.) . . . except during daylight hours and at times other than peak traffic periods (7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.).

In this and the following six paragraphs we shall outline the allegations of the complaint. Defendants had in recent years adopted a form of concerted action described as "civil rights marches" or "civil rights demonstrations" as a method of petitioning for redress of their alleged grievances under the Constitutions of the United States and Illinois. During 1965 and 1966, in Chicago, these demonstrations had included a number of marches involving several thousand people, conducted under permit and in an orderly manner. However, during the same period, defendants had organized other marches and demonstrations conducted without permits, and during the course of which there were many civil disturbances resulting in the arrest of 1,372 persons. During June, July and August 1965, defendants organized and participated in almost daily "vigils" in numbers varying from several to several hundred persons before the City Hall and other public buildings. In the latter part of 1965 and through the winter and spring of 1966, many other demonstrations were organized by defendants involving similar numbers of people. Throughout this period, the Chicago police in no way attempted to interfere with the marches and demonstrations, but, on the contrary, affirmatively assisted and protected all those involved who were peaceful and orderly.

In January 1966, defendants and others advised City officials and the news media that they intended to embark upon a program of developing "creative tension" in the City of Chicago throughout the ensuing summer. During June and July 1966, while defendants were making public statements, appearing on news media, issuing news releases, and publicly corresponding with city officials in the course of organizing people in several areas of the city, major civil disturbances erupted. These resulted in damages of more than several millions of dollars to private property, the death of 27 persons, and injury to 374 others, including 61 police officers. In order to contain the disturbances on the west side of Chicago, it became necessary for the Illinois National Guard to assist the police, and in the course of these disturbances, over 536 persons were arrested.

During July and August of 1966, defendants adopted a pattern of demonstrating in individual neighborhoods in Chicago in diverse areas at approximately the same time, each such demonstration consisting of a substantial number of people, usually several hundred. Particularly, on August 14, 1966, three groups of demonstrators went into three separate neighborhoods, Gage Park, Bogan and Jefferson Park, each of which is separated from the others by substantial distance. The times of the demonstrations were either simultaneous or overlapping. While the three demonstrations were occurring, a severe civil disturbance involving several hundred people, and also concerning "civil rights" marches, erupted in the Marquette Park area, adjoining Bogan.

On August 16, defendants organized six groups of demonstrators which proceeded to six separate locations in the downtown area of Chicago and demonstrated during the day. On the same date, six groups of demonstrators organized by defendants, returned to the Jefferson Park neighborhood at dark and proceeded to demonstrate until after midnight.

At each of these "neighborhood demonstrations," large crowds other than the demonstrators, varying in size from several hundred to several thousand people, gathered along the line of march carrying signs, hooting, throwing rocks, firecrackers and other missiles at the marchers, thereby endangering the persons and property of the marchers and other citizens, as well. Several dozen automobiles belonging to the marchers and others were burned or otherwise substantially damaged. Access to the sidewalks was denied to nonparticipating citizens, the normal flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic was obstructed, substantial damage was done to private property along the routes of march, and 177 persons were arrested. During each of these marches and demonstrations, the Chicago police assisted and protected all those engaged therein who conducted themselves in a peaceful and orderly manner, and in no way did the police attempt to interfere with them.

Despite repeated requests by the police that adequate notice of marches and demonstrations be provided to the Police Department, and despite repeated assurances by defendants that such notice would be given (the latest assurance being August 4, 1966 by defendant Martin L. King), written notification of the locations, character and extent of the demonstrations was received by the police before only two of the more than two hundred such demonstrations. On no other occasion was notice given which was accurate, timely and verifiable. This failure to provide notice caused an extensive and unreasonable waste of police man power which would otherwise have been used for crime prevention and detection in other areas of the city. During the marches and demonstrations from July 16 to August 16, in order to protect the marchers and the persons and property of citizens who were neither participating in the marches nor in the attacks on the marchers, it was necessary for the Police Department to assign 7,124 men to special duty for the specific purpose of protecting the marchers and others in only six neighborhoods within the City of Chicago. These assignments to special duty removed policemen from normal duty posts in other areas and reduced police protection in those areas to such an extent that there resulted a substantial increase in crimes against persons and property directly attributable to such lessened police protection. The ...

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